• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Chapter I: John Godwin and his...
 Chapter II: A garden scene
 Chapter III: The village schoo...
 Chapter IV: Saturday night...
 Chapter V: A cottager's Sunday
 Chapter VI: Going the wrong...
 Chapter VII: Going to service
 Chapter VIII: How the Godwins got...
 Chapter IX: A foreshadowed...
 Chapter X: A sudden affliction
 Chapter XI: A working man and his...
 Chapter XII: Conclusion
 Advertising
 Back Cover
 Spine






Group Title: Cottage at The Firs
Title: The cottage at The Firs
CITATION PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00066428/00001
 Material Information
Title: The cottage at The Firs
Physical Description: 96, 16 p. : ill. (some col.) ; 15 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Religious Tract Society (Great Britain) ( Publisher )
Gresham Press ( Printer )
Unwin Brothers (Firm) ( Printer )
Publisher: Religious Tract Society
Place of Publication: London ;
Manchester ;
Brighton
Manufacturer: Gresham Press ; Unwin Brothers
Publication Date: [187-?]
 Subjects
Subject: Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Family -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Students -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Farmers -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Diligence -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Cottages -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Success -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Sick -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Christian life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Publishers' catalogues -- 1875   ( rbgenr )
Family stories -- 1875   ( local )
Bldn -- 1875
Genre: Publishers' catalogues   ( rbgenr )
Family stories   ( local )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
England -- Manchester
England -- Brighton
England -- Chilworth
 Notes
General Note: Date of publication based on binding indicating publication in the 1870's.
General Note: Publisher's catalogue follows text.
General Note: Frontispiece printed in colors.
Funding: Preservation and Access for American and British Children's Literature, 1870-1889 (NEH PA-50860-00).
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00066428
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: Baldwin Library of Historical Children's Literature in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002219980
notis - ALG0169
oclc - 15257660

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Page i
    Frontispiece
        Page ii
    Title Page
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Table of Contents
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Chapter I: John Godwin and his family
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
    Chapter II: A garden scene
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
    Chapter III: The village school
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
    Chapter IV: Saturday night in Newton
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
    Chapter V: A cottager's Sunday
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
    Chapter VI: Going the wrong road
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
    Chapter VII: Going to service
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
    Chapter VIII: How the Godwins got on
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
    Chapter IX: A foreshadowed event
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
    Chapter X: A sudden affliction
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
    Chapter XI: A working man and his wife
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
    Chapter XII: Conclusion
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
    Advertising
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
    Spine
        Spine
Full Text














































IIA

















f-IL CUT ~IAU Al ~'I`HL 1IR`IS.








THE COTTAGE

AT


THE FIRS.


)Lowon:
THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY,
56, PATERNOSTER ROW; 65, ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD;
AND 164, PICCADILLY.
MANCHESTER: 100, CORPORATION STREET.-
BRIGHTON: 31, WESTERN ROAD,




























































UNWIN BROTHERS, CHILWORTH AND LONDONJ










-~1.--V-----r ^- ;, .,









CONTENTS.



CHAPTER 1.
JOHN GODWIN AND HIS FAMILY ..........................

CHAPTER II.
A GARDEN SCENE ......................................... 12

CHAPTER III.
TIIE VILLAGE SCHOOL ..................................... 20

CHAPTER IV.
SATURDAY NIGHT IN NEWTON .......................... 27

CHAPTER V.
A COTTAGER'S SUNDAY..................................... 35

CHAPTER VI.
GOING THE WRONG ROAD ..................... ........ 43

CHAPTER VII.
GOING TO SERVICE ....................... .................. 51
X'''








4 CONTENTS.

CHAPTER VIII.
HOW THE GODWINS GOT ON ............................. 59

CHAPTER IX.
A FORESHADOWED EVENT ............................. 65

CHAPTER X.
A SUDDEN AFFLICTION.................................... 73

CHAPTER XI.
A WORKING MAN AND HIS WIFE ....................... 80

CHAPTER XII.
CONCLUSION ....................................... ..... 88














THE COTTAGE
AT

THE FIRS.



CHAPTER I.

JOHN GODWIN AND HIS FAMILY.

I-IN GODWIN was a farm-labourer,
and the son of a farm-labourer.
His father worked for nearly forty
years for Farmer Staines, of Bolton; and
under his father, on the same farm, John
spent his first working years and learned
most that he knew. Like most labourers'
boys, he had a rather hard life of it. He
began first at the lowest step of the ladder,
by frightening the birds from the crops with
a wooden clapper; he helped the shepherd







6 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.


in folding the sheep; he drove the cattle to
their stalls in the evening; he rode the horses
to water after their day's work in the furrows,
and assisted in currying and foddering them
afterwards; and on many a biting morning
did he turn out by starlight to pull the
turnips with his chilblainy fingers from the
frozen ground.
John never thought of grumbling at his
work; and as he grew older and stronger he
became an able hand, and before he was
a man grown could plough and sow, and
reap and mow, and build a stack and
manage a team, as well as any man on the
the land. What is more, he gained a good
character as a young fellow who could be
relied on. John lived with his father and
mother, and helped the old people with his
wages up to the time of their death, which
happened when he was twenty-five. In the
following year he married Mary Allen, Farmer
Staines's dairymaid, and made her the mis-
tress of the cottage in which he had dwelt
all his life.
In the course of the next twelve years of
John Godwin's life six children were born to
him in the old cottage. Mary Godwin had







JOHN GODWIN AND HIS FAMILY. 7

enough to do, you may be sure, in bringing
them up; but John had made a wise choice
when he fixed upon Mary for his wife, and
she did her duty both towards him and the
little ones, who were the delight of his heart.
The first great trouble that came to the
Godwins came in the shape of a bad fever,
which visited Bolton in the fall of the year,
and laid a good many of the people on their
backs, and among the rest four of John's
children. It was with a heavy heart that he
went daily to his work during that sad time;
and often, as he drove the share into the
soil, the tears would arop on his hard hands,
and he would send up an earnest prayer to the
great Father in heaven, whom he had learned
to love and reverence, on behalf of his suffer-
ing family. Three months after the fever
came, two of the sick children were getting
quite well and strong, but the two youngest
were sleeping in the churchyard. The doc-
tor who had attended them told John that
the cottage was too small for him, that he
could not expect to bring up a large family
in it, and that if he wished his children to be
well he must move into a larger place. God-
win had long been cramped for room, but he






8 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.

had never known till now that he was risking
health and life by remaining in the cottage.
He told Mr. Staines at once what the doctor
had said ; but the farmer had no other cottage
to offer him.
Not long after this a fellow-labourer told
Godwin that the cottage at The Firs, at
Newton, about four miles off, was to let,
Mark Sullivan, the late tenant, having emi-
grated with all his family. That same even-
ing John trudged off to Newton, saw Mr.
Fowler, the owner of the cottage, and pro-
posed himself as tenant, applying to the land-
lord at the same time for employment.
Farmer Fowler would do nothing without
talking first with Mr. Staines, but in the
meantime he promised John that the cottage
should not be let until he had seen his
present employer.
What took place between the two wealthy
farmers when they met we do not know, nor
is it of much consequence to the reader.
Mr. Staines did not want to part with
Godwin; but he would not stand in the
honest man's way if he.thought he should
better himself by moving. So the upshot of
it was, that after a few weeks John Godwin






JOHN GODWIN AND HIS FAMnt1L. 9

piled his household goods on one of Farmer
Fowler's waggons, and seating little Tom and
Betsy on the top of them, set out for The
Firs; John and his wife, with their eldest boy
Sam, and his eldest sister Nancy, following
on foot.
Mary Godwin and the children were won-
derfully pleased with their new home, though
as they came to it in winter-time it did not
look very bright. The cottage was situated
on the side of a low hill on the outskirts of
the village, and it was called The Firs, from
a clump of fir trees which crowned the top
of the rising ground, and in a manner shel-
tered the humble dwellings beneath from
the north-easterly winds. It contained two
good rooms below and three neat bedrooms
above, and there was besides a large shed
in the rear. Before he could arrange his
furniture John had to get through a good
bout of whitewashing, for the Sullivans had
done nothing in that way for years. How-
ever, that was soon done, and the house
made comfortable. The garden in the back
was found twice as big as that which they
had had at Bolton, being in all nearly equal
to a rood of land. It was quite in a waste






10 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.


condition, the result of long neglect. Sam
Godwin, who thought himself big enough to
handle his father's tools, set to work to clear
the ground and prepare it for planting in the
spring; and at odd times John worked at it
himself, knowing that they should have to
look to the produce of the garden to make
up the rent.
There were a good many fruit trees in the
garden; some of them were plainly past
bearing, and others had been so ill-treated
that there appeared to be little hope of
them. As for the fence, it was broken in a
dozen places, so that the neighbours' fowls,
and sometimes their pigs, had had the run of
the ground. During the winter Godwin got
all this repaired ; he pruned the trees, got rid
of the dead wood, and even gathered a small
crop of winter greens from the stumps left in
the ground.
Besides the land in the rear of the cottage
there was a small plot in the front. This the
children took in hand too, and, laying it out
in beds under their father's direction, pre-
pared it for a flower-garden.
All this was not done without a good deal
of trouble. It was but little that Godwin







JOHN. GODWIN AND h1IS FAMILY. 11

could do towards it himself beyond giving
directions to Nancy and Sam, as the only
time he had to spare was in the dinner-hour,
when he would take a knife or a spade in
hand for a few minutes. He had to wait
until the days grew longer before he could
set fairly to work at his gardening.










j 5Z' c*)
z^ _-^-














CHAPTER II.

A GARDEN SCENE.

0--wo winters have passed -since John
Godwin and his family came to
live at The Firs, and it is the
middle of the second summer, in the month
of August, when we next pay him a visit.
Godwin finds himself comfortable in.his work
under Mr. Fowler, who is a kind and thought-
ful master, and sometimes looks in at his
cottage to see how he is getting on. All the
young Godwins attend the village school, but
the eldest boy Sam goes to help at the farm
in busy times. The cottage looks very dif-
ferent now from what it did when Mark Sul-
livan left it. The little plot in front is bright
with flowers and greenery. An old black
stump which rose out of the ground under
the front casement, and which had not a twig
upon it when the Godwins came, has sprouted






A GARDEN SCENE.


out into a handsome vine, whose branches,
carefully trained, reach almost to the eaves,
and are studded with bunches of white
sweet-water grapes, which promise to ripen
by the end of next month if the weather
holds fine.
The garden in the rear presents such a
different appearance that we hardly know it
again. John has taken a deal of trouble
with it, but it is paying him famously for his
pains. Nearly half of it is laid down in
potatoes for his family, and a-good many
rows of them have been already dug up and
eaten, while of others the haulms are brown
and withered, and a stock planted later are
green and fresh. The large cabbage-bed is
full of famous white-hearted cabbages to boil
with the bacon, and John is at this moment
engaged in planting out others. Sam God-
win is busy at the same time in preparing a
bed for cauliflowers, which are to be planted
before the end of the month.- Thick rows of
peas and kidney-beans, which have already
supplied many a meal to the family, grow
between the potato-patch and the dwelling,
and there too are the broad beds of carrots
and parsnips, and the patch of onions, whose






14 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.

green shoots Mary Godwin has trodden
down with her light foot in order that the
bulbs may grow all the firmer and bigger.
All round the garden, at about five feet dis-
tance from the fence, runs a good dry path
made of stones broken as small as beans-
the vork of Sam and little Tom at odd times.
The small side-strips of ground next the
fences are planted with lettuce, radishes, and
salads of easy growth, and the indispensable
old herbs, thyme and parsley, sage and mint.
There is a round number of gooseberry and
currant bushes, though they have parted with-
nearly all their fruit, of which the boys and
girls could give a better account than we can.
The fruit trees do not make..a very splendid
show, though there is a sprinkling of young
apples and pears and plums; but they pro-
mise to do better in future years, for Godwin
-has grafted some of them, and planted
young trees which will thrive as the years
roll on.
The. pig-sty stands at the far end of the
garden, and in it there is a plump'little pig-
ling, who is holding a not very polite argu-
ment with little Betsy Godwin, the youngest
child-Betsy having her pinafore full of cab-






A GARDEN SCENE.


bage-leaves and carrot-tops, which sheis deal-
ing out one at a time over the paling to her
greedy favourite. Piggy is not the first of his
race whom the little lass has made a pet of.
The last was promoted from pig to pork
several months ago, and all that is left of him
at the present time is a ham of Mary God-
win's curing and the remains of a flitch,
marked with many a hungry gash, hanging
within the cupboard. John's pigs do not
cost him much beyond the care and attention
which he is willing to afford them. He bought
the first for a few shillings, when it weighed
very little, and he killed it when it weighed
eleven stone. He found no difficulty in
selling to his neighbours enough of the
fresh meat to buy a second pig for fatting,
and he salted the rest for his own use. It
was thought a curious thing by some of his
neighbours that Godwin's pig weighed more
by nearly a stone than others of the same
litter which were killed on the same day.
John did not think it extraordinary himself,
for he knew that his neighbours' pigs were
allowed to wallow in filth, while he had so
contrived his own sty that they could not do
so, and had not spared tl.e trouble of clean





16 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.


ing the creature from time to time. Besides
his pig Godwin keeps a few fowls in a small
enclosure next the sty, and which his wife
knows how to manage so as to turn them to
a profit.
Across the end of the garden nearest the
house a few clothes-lines are stretched; and
if you look at the linen hanging to dry, you
will see that Mary Godwin is as thrifty as her
husband. Those lawn and lace-bordered
handkerchiefs, and those fine holland shirts,
don't belong to John, and you see at once
that Mrs. Godwin works as a laundress, and
that she does her work well or she would not
be trusted with such materials. If you peep
through the window of the back room, you
will see her standing at the ironing-board,
where she is finishing off a batch of linen
which has to be delivered at the Rectory the
first thing in the morning. And now, as she
comes out to gather the few remaining things
from the lines, you see that her industry does
her no harm, for there is the bloom of health
on her cheek and the look of quiet content
in every feature. She has just plucked the
things from the lines and laid. them across
her arm, when the:"e is a shout of Hoy !






A GARDEN SCENE. 17

daddy, here we are !" heard at the garden-
gate, and in rushes Tom Godwin, half-buried
beneath -a rather shabby-looking sheaf of
wheat which -he carries on his head, and
:...!I1..... ,l by his sister Nancy bearing another,
but a neater, sheaf on her shoulder. The
two have been out since noon gleaning,
Farmer Brown at The Limes having carted
most of his wheat this morning. Master
Tom is proud of the heap he has brought
home, and wants everybody to see it, but he
won't let Betsy roll in .it, as she wishes to do,
lest she should shake out the grain; so, while
Nancy hastens to help her mother, he and
Sam stow away the grain in the shed, pur-
posing to thresh it out and measure it in the
morning.
While we have been watching this agree-
able family picture, another person has been
watching it too. Jem Crocker, John God-
win's neighbour, came home soon after six,
and found his cottage empty, his wife and
three boys having gone cff to Bolton Fair
soon after breakfast in the morning and not
yet returned. Crocker found some bread and
cold tea in the cupboard, and staying his
appetite with that as well as he could, filled
2





18 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.


his pipe and strolled into his garden, thinking
that his wife and boys would soon be in.
He sat smoking in the old, tumble-down
arbour, where he could see through the
straggling i .-...lI.;- and over the fence into
Godwin's garden, and note all that passed.
He could not help comparing his own
ground, where there was nothing but potatoes
and cabbages, and not half enough of them,
with the capital show which his neighbour
had managed to raise on that bit of land.
He saw how Godwin's wife and children were
working, and the sight made him angry with
his own wife, and especially with the boys,
who were better able to work than Sam and
Tom Godwin. But he forgot to compare
himself with John Godwin, or to ask himself
the question whether he took care to set his
children as good an example as his neigh-
bour did. If he 'had, perhaps he would
have been angry with himself, which would
have been a good thing. Instead of that,
he pitied himself, and blamed his wife and
the boys, whom he had never taught to be
industrious.
When the sun got low, and the last red
gleam disappeared from the chimney-tops,






A GARDEN SCENE.


and twilight began to brood over the land-
scape, Mrs. Godwin came to the back door
and called father and the children in to
supper. Crocker saw them all go in. He
saw little Betsy fold her i:!!I1 hands and ask
a blessing on the meal; he heard the cheer-
ful talk of the happy group as they sat round
the board at the open window and when the
meal was ended he saw how the industrious
wife got the Bible and gave it to her hus-
band; he heard John's voice as he read the
holy book. The chapter that night which
came in turn for reading was the eleventh of
the Gospel' by St. Matthew. The blessed
words, "Come unto me, all ye that are weary
and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."
He then saw the children kneel around the
father as the good man offered a short and
simple prayer. Crocker did not care to
listen to more of the words, but got up from
his seat, strolled into his dark and lonely
dwelling, and finding no comfort there, went
out into the road, and made for the Wind-
mill" public-house.














CHAPTER III.

THE VILLAGE SCHOOL.

HE village school at Newton stood at
the outskirts of the place on the
western side, at a little more than
a furlong's distance from The Firs. It was
a simple but substantial building, chiefly of
rough stone, with some features of the Gothic
about it, but no useless ornaments, for it had
been built for use and not for show, and was
intended to last. The boys' schoolroom,
which was the larger of the two, was
separated from the girls' by two smaller
rooms, one of which was sometimes used
as a class-room either for boys or girls, and
the other was set apart for the youngest
children, who were at once amused and in-
structed in a simple way by some of the
elder girls, who took charge of them by
turns. Mr. and Mrs. Thompson were the






THE VILLAGE SCHOOL.


schoolmaster and schoolmistress. Both of
them had had much experience in the work
in which they were engaged; and having no
children of their own-for they had lost their
only two in infancy-they could give their un-
divided attention to the duties of the school.
Under the master the boys were taught to
read and spell, to write and cipher, and to
be kind and courteous to one another. In
addition to this, certain hours in the week
were set apart for instruction in geography,
history, and natural history, or the science
which treats of living creatures. To help
the children in these studies, the walls of the
larger room, where the boys were taught,
were hung with large maps of all parts of the
world, with pictures of scenes and events
of importance in the history of our own
country, and with large coloured sheets, in
which were portrayed not only the birds and
animals common in England, but numbers
of the savage beasts found in foreign
countries, and numbers more of the great
monsters found in the sea. The walls of
the class-room, too, in which a Bible-class,
formed of the elder boys and girls, met
once a week, were almost covered over with






22 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.

coloured prints of subjects taken from the
Old and New Testament. These maps and
pictures gave the inside of the schoolhouse
a very cheerful and lively appearance; but,
what was far better than that, they were a
source of continual interest and instruction
to the children, who not only learned from
them by the explanations of the master and
mistress, but got knowledge from each other
by talking about them.
When John Godwin, on calling on Mr.
Thompson to inquire about placing his chil-
dren at school, first saw the inside of the
place, and what was going on there, he was
fairly struck with wonder. He had never
seen anything of that sort before, for in that
day there were very few village schools which
.were half so well supplied with the means of
instruction as village schools are now. John
called to mind the old dame-school at Bolton,
to which his good mother had sent him as soon
as he was old enough to toddle along the road
by himself. He remembered the poor old
woman who kept it; how she left the chil-
dren, sometimes by the hour together, to scrub
her room, or to boil her pot for dinner; how
at others she sat fast asleep over her knitting







THE VILLAGE SCHOOL.


until she was woke up by the noise and
squabbling of the boys and girls; he re-
membered her long birch rod, and the fear
he had of it; he seemed to see again the
one small "Reading Made Easy," which he
had thumbed into dogs'-ears long before
he had mastered words of one syllable;
and when he called these old days up to
view, he wondered how it was that he had
ever learned to read at all. Contrasting the
advantages which were offered to his children
with the scanty means of education which
he had enjoyed himself, Godwin, like a sen-
sible man, determined that his boys and girls
should reap the benefit of the school as far
as possible, and get all the learning it was in
his power to provide for them.
So you may be sure the young Godwins
attended school regularly; and as they soon
learned to like it, very few complaints were
made concerning them, though now and then
young Tom would get into disgrace for a
time through playing too long on his way to
school, or chatting to his neighbour while
there." There were none of them what is
called quick at 1..-, i~.. and it cost Sam and
Nancy especially, who had had very little







24 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.

schooling at Bolton, a good deal of hard
work to redeem lost time and get up with
their schoolmates. But what they learned
with difficulty they remembered better than
some of their companions who considered
themselves much -more clever; and though
during the first year all the praise they got
was for regularity and good behaviour, yet in
the third half, when the examination came
off, both Nancy and Sam brought away
prizes-Sam for his writing, which was the
best in his class, and Nancy for some exploit
with her needle, in the use of which she
excelled most others.
During six months in the year, when the
days were short, Mr. Thompson opened the
school of an evening, for the benefit of such
of the lads and young men of the neighbour-
hood whose education had been neglected,
or who desired further to improve them-
selves. To this evening school Sam Godwin,
who worked at the farm whenever he could
get employed, went regularly five nights a
week all through the winter, his father con-
senting that he should set apart a portion of
his earnings to pay the weekly money. Thus,
if he lost time by being absent from school






THE VILLAGE SCHOOL.


during hay-making and harvest, and other
busy seasons at the farm, he made up for it
by his evening studies.
It was a part of the schoolmistress's plan,
in which she was encouraged by most of the
ladies and respectable housekeepers of the
neighbourhood, to instruct such of the girls
as were intended for service in the proper
methods of doing domestic work. This she
did by finding them employment in her own
house after school hours and overlooking
what they did. Some of the parents of the
girls were silly enough to object to this, and
to forbid their daughters from remaining
after school hours for any such purpose.
These over-wise mothers could only look
at the subject from a selfish point of view:
they imagined that the schoolmistress wanted
their children to do her work, and they could
not see how important it is that a young girl
who is to get her living by her work, should
be taught from the beginning to do her work
in the best manner.
Mary Godwin took a different view of the
matter; she knew that it is often more
wearying and troublesome to teach a child
to do a thing than it is to do it yourself. If






26 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.


Nancy could be of any real service to Mrs.
Thompson, so much the better. However
that might be, she was glad that under any
circumstances her child should acquire know-
ledge which could not fail to be useful to her.
As for Nancy herself, she was never better
pleased than when her week at the school-
house came round. She set to work always
with right good-will in doing whatever was to
be done. If in her zeal she blundered, as
she did sometimes, she acknowledged and
strove to repair her fault with readiness and
cheerfulness, and was thankful, and not
sullen, as many girls are, for being set right.
The consequence was that Nancy learned
to do many things well which she would
have had no opportunity of doing at all in
her own home, she also acquired the habit
of doing things in their right time and right
order, so that there was no occasion of doing
them over again. How important this habit
is, every good servant knows; and there is
many a servant- ay, and many a mistress
too-who, from a want of this kind of system
in doing every-day work, give themselves no
end of trouble, and pass half their time in a
slate of muddle and discomfort.








4 -.. ' '-;. ,;. I ,* 7- -- ,-%






CHAPTER IV.

SATURDAY NIGHT IN NEWTON.

".URDAY night, as it generally is in
.-.- inhabited by labouring men
nd their families, was a busy and
rather a noisy night in Newton. There
was no regular fair or market in the place, as
it lay out of the line of the turnpike-road;
but when there happened to be a fair, or a
"mop" at any neighboring town, it was
generally the case that after it was over some
of the vagrant stage-players, conjurers, or
keepers of raree-shows, would come over to
see what they could pick up at Newton; and
you may be sure that when they did come
it would be on a Saturday evening. When
this was the case, as it was too often in the
summer, and the place was in an uproar-with
the bawling of cheap-jacks, the braying of
battered tin trumpets, and the thumping of






28 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.

the big drum, John Godwin always kept his
children at home, and whatever marketing
had to be done he would do himself, not
choosing to let his family mingle with the
hubbub. But, independently of anything of
this sort, Saturday night was always busy and
noisy enough. As the end of a week of hard
labour, it was looked forward to by the
labourers with a natural feeling of pleasure,
though this feeling arose from very different
causes. With some the pleasure they antici-
pated was the comfort of rest and repose in
the society of their wives and children, and
the privilege of worshipping with them on
Sunday in the house of God; but with others
all their pleasures were connected with self-
indulgence and the gratification of their
appetites.
Of course the two public-houses in Newton
were fuller on the Saturday night than on any
other night; and it was not a pleasant thing
to walk past either of them after dark, when
the drinkers within had grown riotous and
were roaring out half-a-dozen different songs
together. It was worth while to notice the
conduct of some of the labourers' wives just
about pay-time. Some of them looked merry





SATURDAY NIGHT IN NEWTON.


and cheerful as larks, had made themselves
as neat as a new pin, and having finished all
the household work of the week, had cleaned
up their cottages and got everything in Sun-
day order long before Saturday's sun had set.
With others it was quite different. They
hardly had the means of making themselves
neat, and they had lost heart so much that
they did not care about making the best of
what they had. You would see these poor
women, about the time the wages were paid,
leaving their cottages, and perhaps dragging
a child or two along with them, and making
haste to the public-house, where they would
stand sometimes for hours, to catch their
husbands before they went in, in order to get
as much of the wages out of their hands as
they could before it was wasted in drink.
A sad sight that is!
If you had looked in at Godwin's cottage
about that time, you would have seen it in
capital trim, a bright little fire burning in the
grate, the kettle singing on the hob, and
father's cup and saucer on the table waiting
for him to sit down to tea. John comes as
punctual as the clock, and when he has had
his tea, he and Mary, or he and Nancy if his






30 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.

wife is busy, take the market-basket and set
off to buy the necessary provisions for the
following week : flour for their bread, which
Mary makes herself, a pound or two of
butcher's meat for Sunday's dinner, tea,
sugar, and whatever happens to be wanted.
John has paid his club-money on his way
home, and if he had anything to spare he has
made a small deposit in the savings bank as
well; so that he knows what he has to spend,
and knows, too, how to make the most of it.
There is no market in Newton, as there is in
large towns, where housekeepers can go and
choose at a hundred stalls or more, and suit
their fancy just as they like. Instead of an
open market, there is only the general shop
kept by Mrs. Mold; and if she has not got
the thing you want, it is likely you may have
to do without it. But Mrs. Mold knows the
wants of her customers pretty well, and, to
say the truth, she has got everything they are
likely to ask for, and a good many things
which you and I might imagine would never
be called for. She has butchers' meat and
dried fish, groceries of all kinds, faggots and
fire-wood, bales of calico and bright-printed
dresses, flitches of bacon, fruit and vege-






SATURDAY NIGHT IN NEWTON.


tables, and fustian jackets, smock-frocks, and
hats and caps, and no end of earthen pots
and pans and-crockery-ware, to say nothing of
knives and forks, and spoons, and flat-irons,
and frying-pans, and all manner of domestic
hardware. So, you see, the general shop
does not make a bad market for a poor man,
or a poor man's wife, who is pretty sure to
find what she wants there. A stranger might
think that Mrs. Mold is a rather hard woman;
she speaks so short and quick, and has such
a decisive way with her. The truth is that,
having been five-and-twenty years in busi-
ness, she has lost a great deal of money by
giving credit, and has been driven to adopt
the rule of No trust out of self-defence.
To be sure, she breaks her rule sometimes, in
favour of the widow or of a poor man dis-
abled from work; but, as she says, if she
loses by that, "it is a different thing to being
cheated by dishonest persons who could pay
if they would." While strict with the careless
and improvident, Mrs. Mold is kind and
generous towards those who use her well.
She is, further, a wise and willing adviser to
any who are in difficulties, and is often
known to do a kindly turn and make no






32 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIR8.
words about it. If she gets her living by
selling to the villagers, she sometimes sells
for them. If they have eggs, or fruit, or
vegetables to dispose of, she will aid in turn-
ing them into money. If a neighbour kills
his pig, she will often get rid among her
better class of customers of as much of it as
he does not want himself, and, what is often
of more use to him, she will advise him when
to kill, so as to be sure of a market for the
fresh pork.
Godwin is a sort of crony with the general
shopkeeper, who always receives him with a
smiling face, and supplies his wants without
loss of time; interlarding her services with a
little kindly gossip, and not forgetting now
and then to add to the marketing a small
packet of "sweeties" for little Betsy. She
generally asks after his garden, the produce
of which, in the shape of early potatoes,
cucumbers, marrowfat peas, and how and
then a basket of fine plums, she has been
used to get rid of for him; and it is to her
good word that John is indebted for the
young espaliers which he received from the
Squire's head gardener, and which promise to
cut a figure some day in his own ground.,






SATURDAY NIGHT AT NEWTON. 33

In John Godwin's home there is very little
difference between Saturday night and any
other night in the week. It does happen
sometimes that the family supper is a little
later and the table a little better supplied,
especially if the boys have been out black-
berrying, and succeeded in coaxing mother to
make a pudding out of their spoils. But there
is no hurrying and driving, because the week's
washing for Mary's lady customers was all
finished ready to send home on the Friday
night; and there is no waiting up for any-
body, for the father of the family is not
absent at the public-house, wasting his sub-
stance and ruining his health, but at home
by his own fireside, reading some interesting
book aloud, or plotting some fresh scheme of
domestic industry with the good wife of more
than fifteen years, while she knits away at a
stout pair of winter hose.
It has happened a good many times of
late that Mary Godwin, who does not sleep
so soundly as her husband, has been awoke
after midnight on the Saturday by the noise
made by their neighbour Jem Crocker while
banging at the door to be let in. On these
occasions she has heard much that she was
3






34 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.

sorry to hear. She knows, for she cannot
help knowing, that Crocker has taken to
drinking, and is going on from bad to worse;
and she feels that his wife is acting in a way
which, so far from weaning him from his
error, is more likely to strengthen him in
evil habits. Of course she has told Godwin,
and John has had more than one serious
talk with Crocker upon the subject, and has
warned him earnestly to resist the temptation,
which will else be his ruin. Crocker received
the first rebuke with good temper, and pro-
mised that it should not be thrown away;
but the second time he flew into a passion,
and latterly he has avoided Godwin, plainly
regarding his interference as an offence.





,, --^ -_,-/ -_ ,%-- "








I --







CHAPTER V.

A COTTAGER'S SUNDAY.

' *',!: Y of our, readers who pass their
lives amidst quiet rural scenes, must
K..L i .,ften have noticed how peacefully
the Sunday morning dawns upon a retired
village. There is no jingling and rattling of
chains and harness, no trampling of horses,
and grinding of wheels in the ruts of the
road, no hammering at the blacksmith's forge,
no sound of mower whetting his scythe, or
reaper grinding his sickle but all is calm
and still. Early on the. summer morning,
the slender, wreaths of smoke, first from one
cottage chimney and then from another,
begin to curl upwards among the dark green
trees; the casements are thrown open; then
the door swings upon its hinges, and a smil-
ing face or two looks out upon the welcome
3






THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.


sunshine. Then husbands and fathers come
forth with leisurely step, lingering among their
plots of flowers, and kindly greetings and
inquiries are exchanged among friends and
neighbours. Then follows the frugal morn-
ing meal, the only breakfast in the week at
which the labourer sees all his family around
him; then, let us hope, the chapter in the
Bible is read, and while all kneel around the
board, thanksgivings are offered to the Father
of all mercies, and a blessing is asked on the
privileges and services of the day.
At least this is the way in which Sunday
begins in John Godwin's cottage. And break-
fast has not been very long over, when, from
many a cottage-door, children of all ages, and
in groups of various numbers, are seen with
polished faces, and clean and tidily clad,
hastening towards the open door of the
Sunday-school in the rear of the old square-
towered, ivy-covered church. All four of the
young Godwins go regularly to the Sunday-
school; for though Nancy is over fifteen,
and Sam is but a year younger, their parents
see no reason why they should quit the
school, where they are taught to know the
Bible, and to make it the rule of their actions,






A COTTAGER'S SUNDAY.


that they may be the better able to encounter
the snares and temptations of the world. In-
deed, Nancy's parents have resolved that she
shall attend the Sunday-school until she quits
them to go out to service, as she is looking
forward to do when she is old enough.
Just at ten o'clock, that one little bell in
the ivy-clad tower of the old church, which
can be plainly seen through the wide stone
bars of the window, begins wagging back-
wards and forwards with a rather clanking
sound, to call the villagers to worship. As
it tolls for half-an-hour, it does not seem to
excite much attention at first, though no
doubt many a busy dame bestirs herself at
its first note, in order not to be behind time.
But before long the broad, winding street
of the village begins to show signs of life.
At first a few grey-haired men, bowed with
age, attended by wives as old and decrepit,
or stayed on the arms of sturdy son or
loving daughter, take their slow and delibe-
rate way. Among them is seen the cripple
on his crutches, or perhaps the sick man
who has lately risen from his bed of pain,
whom the fine morning has tempted forth,
that he may return thanks for his recovery






38 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.

in the house of God. The strong and healthy
come after labouring men in snow-white
smock-frocks, thrifty housewives in trim
printed gowns, matronly dames in bright scar-
let cloaks, elder sisters in charge of chubby-
faced little ones; and you notice that not
a few of the church-goers carry splendid
flowers in their button-holes or their bosoms
-the very pride of their gardens, which they
have reserved for Sunday morning wear. As
the crowd are nearing the avenue which leads
to the churchyard, up drives the squire's
carriage, with the squire and his lady in it,
while all stand aside to let it pass. Then
there is Farmer Fowler's trap, full of bloom-
ing boys and girls; and after them come a
few stragglers from more distant places.
There is some pausing in the avenue, and
greetings under the trees from neighbours
who live far apart and meet but rarely; but
when the little bell peals double time, de-
noting that it will stop in three minutes,
there is a general move for the open
church door, and in a moment more all have
entered.
When we say all have entered, we mean
all who intend to enter, not all who might







A COTTAGER'S SUNDAY.


go to church if they cared to do so. As
you came up the avenue from the village
street, you might have observed a strag-
gling group of idle young fellows, some mere
boys, others almost grown men, lolling about
the open gate, or sitting lazily on the high
banks and fences; some of them were smok-
ing short pipes, some cracking nuts, some
whittling at sticks with their pocket-knives,
but all were seeking a kind of vacant amuse-
ment from watching the people who went to
church, and joking with each other about
them. Among them were Ned and Bob
Crocker, Jem Crocker's two sons, who two
years ago not only went to church regularly,
but to the Sunday-school too, but who have
not been to either now for more than a year.
When the bell stops tolling, and the service
begins, these reckless fellows start in bands
for the woods and fields, and waste the pre-
cious hours of the Sabbath in idle frolic,
forgetful that they will one day have to
account for every lost opportunity.
One Sunday morning, Godwin, on his way
to Divine worship, saw Crocker lounging
about. Crocker, will you come with me?
There shall be a seat found for you." Then






40 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.

gently slipping his arm under his neighbour's
arm, he quietly led him along; and, strangely
enough, Crocker found himself in the
church porch before he knew where he was
going. He was in a dreamy state that Sun-
day morning-not an uncommon thing after
a riotous Saturday night.
The preacher that morning made a very
solemn discourse from the text: "How
shall we escape if we neglect so great salva-
tion?" The greatness of the salvation
wrought out on behalf of perishing sinners,
by our Lord Jesus Christ, was dwelt on
with great earnestness; and then the danger
and consequences of neglecting it were
faithfully pointed out. The clergyman ten-
derly invited the guilty to seek Divine
mercy without delay, assuring them none
who truly seek shall be cast out. Moreover,
he spoke of the gracious help the Holy
Spirit would give to all truly seeking souls.
Crocker slipped out of the church as
soon as the service was over. Oh! that
he had been wise, and had considered his
latter end.
John Godwin's greatest earthly happiness
is to see those whom he loves happy about






A COTTAGER'S SUNDAY.


him; and as this feeling is just as fully that
of his wife, it would not be easy to find a
more pleasant and cheerful party than that
which gathers round him on the Sunday
afternoon. He finds plenty to interest the
family during the interval between the morn-
ing and evening service. There are the
Scripture lessons of the school to be gone
over again, and the verses that have been
learned during the week to be repeated.
John himself always has his verse to say
with his children, and it is generally one
which suggests some lesson of importance to
their youthful minds. Then there are stories
of Christ and of His wonderful works of
mercy to be told, or there is the sermon of the
preacher, of which every one is expected to
recollect something, and. which the father
does his best to explain so that his children
shall profit by it. John, too, is fond of
singing, and many a cheerful hymn enlivens
the day; and there is never a lack of plea-
sant and useful conversation, which the family
freely enjoy together.
While father and mother with their eldest
son are at the evening service, Nancy stays
at home with the younger children; and






42 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.


many a charming hymn did Tom and Betsy
learn from their elder sister's lips long before
they were old enough to read them in the
printed book. Nancy is never at a loss to
interest them during these Sunday evenings,
for there is a lending-library attached to the
Sunday-school, of which she has long had
the advantage, and in the choice of books to
bring home her first thought is always what
will be most suitable and interesting to her
little sister and brother.
The closing hour of the Sunday is pro-
bably to John Godwin the most solemn and
sacred of the whole week. It is at this hour
that he has been accustomed to recall the
past days, to remember the way that God
has led him, and to declare His goodness and
mercy in the presence of his family, and call
upon them to unite in the expression of their
gratitude for the gift of His only Son as the
Saviour of men. Perhaps the simple-hearted
man is hardly aware how deeply his words
sink into the hearts of his children, and how
thoroughly his own perfect trust in an over-
ruling Providence is laying the foundation of
theirs.















CHAPTER VI.

G3ING THE WRONG ROAD.

AMES CROCKER was not an idle man.
He was honest, and always got
through his work in a creditable
way; but he was weak and easily led into
temptation, and latterly it had been very plain
to his nearest neighbours that he was spending
far too much of his time and his money at
the "Windmill," and that his family must
suffer in consequence. Godwin, though he
blamed Crocker very much for giving way to
the habit of drink, and always put in a word
of warning when he could, yet, in his own
mind, could not help pitying him, and that
for more reasons than one. In the first
place, as John could not help seeing, Crocker's
wife cared a great deal too much for herself
and too little for her home. She had been
thought very good-looking, and had been






44 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.

called "lady-like" in her young days; and
though the bloom of her youth had long
passed away, the flattery lingered in her
heart, and she could not forget it. Personal
vanity had led to a love of fine clothes, and
fine clothes had led her out of doors to show
herself when she ought to have been at
home attending to household duties. Thus
it had come to pass that Crocker's home was
often empty when he returned from his
work in the evening ; and oftener still, when
his wife was at home, he was without a com-
fortable meal, owing to her bad management
and her fondness for tawdry ribbons and
frippery. As for the boys, they had long
grown too big and too self-willed for the
restraint of either parent, and never dreamed
of giving up their own pleasure for the ad-
vantage of others.
There was another reason why John was
concerned about his neighbour, and that was,
that Crocker had expectations," as they are
called; that is, he was looking forward to
coming into the possession of money. He
had an old aunt residing at Bolton, who
lived on an income of twenty pounds a-year.
At her death the principal would be taken






GOING THE WRONG ROAD.


out of, the Funds, and divided among her
nephews and nieces, and Crocker's share
would come to over a hundred pounds.
When Godwin first heard of this, it seemed
to explain to him a good deal of the conduct
of his neighbours, both husband and wife. He
thought he saw in it the source of Crocker's
carelessness and of his wife's fondness for
show, and he remarked to Mary, who told
him of it, that he was sorry to hear it.
"But," said Mary, "it must be a good
thing to be sure of having such a large sum
of money to come in at some day."
Indeed," said John, "it may be a very
bad thing, and such I fear it has proved in
Crocker's case. If this expectation has made
them careless and improvident, it has already
done them harm; and perhaps the best
thing one could wish them is, that the money
should never come to hand."
Oh, John," said Mary, you surely would
not wish that ?"
"I would not wish my neighbour any
harm," John went on; "but what would
James Crocker and his wife do with a hundred
pounds now, if they had it? I feel very
sure it would only unfit him for his work;





46 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.

and if he did not drink all the more, and
spend the money that way, I am afraid he
would think himself too much of a gentleman
to follow the plough or drive the team; and
with regard to her, I shall say nothing more
than that she is not exactly like you,
Polly."
Mary laughed, and said no more; but as
John went off to his work she could not
help pondering his words in her mind, and
wishing, for the first time in her life, that
her husband might turn out to be in the
wrong.
But Godwin proved right in the main, as
after events showed. During the following
November, which came in with heavy rains
and thick mists and fogs, there was much
sickness in Bolton, and there were several
deaths. Among the first who was carried
off was old Rebecca Dodds, the aunt from
whom Crocker expected so much.
He was ploughing in the seven-acre field
one Saturday forenoon, when he heard some
one calling him, and looking round saw his
wife, with her hair all loose and her bonnet
blown down behind, racing over the soft
clods to come up with him. He guessed





GOING THE WRONG ROAD.


what the news was (for he had heard of his
aunt's illness) before his wife could find breath
to utter it. When she had told him all the
particulars, she wanted him to throw up his
work at once, and start off to Bolton to see
about it along with her. Crocker had the
sense to refuse her request, but it was not
without a deal of trouble that he prevailed
upon her to go home and see after his
dinner, telling her that if she chose she might
go with him to Bolton in the evening.
Crocker did not continue to work for
Farmer Fowler. Soon after the funeral, the
old dame's money was divided, and his
share came to nearly a hundred and twenty
pounds, which was duly paid over to him.
Godwin saw little of him, or his wife either,
for some time afterwards. One evening,
however, as he was returning from the farm,
Crocker met him in the lane. "Godwin,"
said he, "I was on the look-out for you;
can I have a word with you now?"
"As many as you please," said John;
'how can I be of service to you?"
"Well, you see, I should be glad of your
advice, and you can do me a turn if you like.
I've given up farm-work, as you know, and






48 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.

since we've had the means to do something
for ourselves, Betsy and I have been puzzled
more than a bit how to find the best way of
doing it. However, that's all settled now.
We're going to start a new shop in the general
line, down in the village."
"Oh," said Godwin, rather drily; "and
what is the advice you are seeking of me?"
Why, you see, I thought-you know-I
thought, you, being an old comrade, that
maybe you wouldn't object to give us your
custom, and perhaps might say a word for us
to other people."
You forget, Crocker, that Mrs. Mold has
been a good friend to me, and that I have a
real regard for her. To be frank, I cannot
promise to deal with you. I am afraid you
have not well considered what you are about,
and that you will find shopkeeping is a trade
which requires to be learned, like other trades,
before it can be carried on with profit."
"Ay, ay," said Crocker, "' trust me for
that and mind, I shall look for your custom
some day, in spite of Mrs. Mold. We shall
do well, depend upon it. But," he added,
finding that he did not get much encourage-
ment, I must be off and see how the car-






GOING THE WRONG ROAD.


penters are getting on at the shop. Good
day."
The history of James Crocker's shopkeep-
ing may be told in very few words. It is
only one more illustration of the folly of
builcinj upon expectations of any kind. The
shop was opened, and continued so for ex-
actly six months. It was a handsome-look-
ing shop for such a small village as Newton;
and Mrs. Crocker,' in a muslin dress and a
cap with pink bows in it, cut an uncommonly
smart figure behind the counter. But the
same faults that had hitherto been her bane
still troubled her, and in proportion as she
felt herself lifted up did her vanity become
unbearable. The muslin dress and pink
bows disappeared from behind the counter
very often, and were seen, now at Bolton,
now at the market-town, and more than once
at the railway-station starting for London.
Crocker, meanwhile, who ought to have been
attending to the business, was at the Wind-
mill." He had not been brought up to shop-
keeping, and found out too late that it would
have been much wiser to have kept to his own
proper work. If his legacy had been twice
as large it would have been of little use:






50 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.

habits of industry and a thorough knowledge
of his craft are often of more value to a
working man than much money. The cus-
tomers were served by a dirty-fingered little
girl, who knew well enough where to find
the raisins, and the candied lemon-peel, and
the sugar-candy, but who lost her head
among the different things of all kinds that
lay about in confusion. The end of it all
was, that the carpenter who had fitted up
the shop, who had secured himself by a bill
of sale on the stock and furniture, took pos-
session of everything, debts and all, just as
the six months had expired. There was a
rare hubbub in Newton when the business
stopped, and in the midst of the hubbub
Crocker and his family disappeared, no one
knew whither.



VA 'x^
^**:-^










i.- ^ '*- ---<-.-^--^ '--- _;'j" ^-^ ^,



CHAPTER VII.

GOING TO SERVICE.

i''-- '. GODWIN grew up a comely-
i :....: king lass, with a healthy bloom
LL -.J.1 a pleasant, cheerful expression
on her face. At the age of sixteen she was
almost as tall as her mother, whose constant
companion she was throughout the day,
helping her in the household work, as
well as in getting forward with the week's
washing and ironing. Nancy had long
ceased to attend the day-school, .and by her
regular industry at home had been able not
only to relieve her mother, but also to add
something to the weekly earnings; but she
still continued in her class at the Sunday-
school, and did-not think that because she
was no longer a child she should turn away
from instruction which had been of so much
use to her. She knew, moreover, that by
4*






THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.


remaining in her class she was encouraging
others to remain, who but for her example
would have left; and her parents approved
her conduct, believing that their daughter
could never be too old to learn.
One afternoon, when Godwin was busy
and Mary had gone with the market basket
to the village shop to buy some provisions,
Mrs. Mold, after serving her with what she
wanted, called her into the little back-parlour.
She then told her that the housekeeper from
Cray's Cliff had been over inquiring for a
tidy lass of good character to fill the place of
nurserymaid. The place seemed likely to
suit Nancy; and Mary thanked Mrs. Mold
warmly for her kindness. Of course," said
she, you will go with your daughter, and I
have no doubt you will arrange matters com-
fortably."
SMary Godwin, with the basket on her arm,
walked home in a rather pensive mood. She
had for years been training her daughter for
service in a respectable family, and she cquld
but rejoice that so good an opening had
presented itself; but now the idea of parting
with Nancy brought a sadness with it, and
almost filled her eyes with tears. She did






GOING TO SERVICE.


not tell the news at once to her child, as you
might have fancied she would, but went out
in the garden and stood by Godwin as he
wa s digging a trench in the celery-bed. He
saw in a moment that she had something
to tell him. "And what is it now, Polly ?"
he asked. No ill news I hope."
No, John; good news, only that I don't
know how to welcome it." And then she
told him what had passed between her and
Mrs. Mold.
Nothing was said on the matter either to
Nancy or the other children that night, but
after they were gone to bed the father and
mother talked it over between themselves.
John saw that it would be a trial to Mary to
part with her child at first, and indeed he felt
that it would be little less so to him; but,
accustomed as he was to recognize the hand
of a guardian Providence in all- that con-
cerned him, he did not fail to acknowledge
it now. "We cannot expect to keep our
children always at home," he said: "let us
be thankful that in this, our first parting, we
shall be separated by no great distance, and
shall often see each other."
Then you think," said Mary, "that if






54 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.

Nancy offers for the place, she is likely to
have it?"
" I think," said John, from what I know
of Mrs. Mold, that the affair is already
settled between her and the housekeeper;
and that it now only remains with us to
decide."
So Mary took the first opportunity when
she was alone with Nancy the next day to
tell her of the change proposed. The young
girl was delighted at the prospect, and began
talking very fast of the pleasures and advan-
tages she expected to reap in such a ser-
vice; and she would have gone on longer,
but the silence and sad, tearful face of her
mother suddenly checked her gladness.
"You would wish me to go, mother," said
Nancy, would you not ? "
"Yes, dear, I suppose I ought to wish it;
but I should like you to think seriously of a
step which may prove the most important of
your life."
"Oh, mother, I do think seriously of it
too; but I cannot help feeling glad that I
shall maintain myself and be able by-and-by
to help you and father."
At the evening gathering round "the fire






GOING TO SERVICE.


the subject was generally discussed. Sam,
the eldest boy, thought it a capital thing for
Nancy; but the two younger children were
not quite so sure of it, and did not relish the
notion of losing their sister.
Godwin was right in his guess with regard
to the mode in which Mrs. Mold had for-
warded the business. When Mary and her
daughter called at Cray's Cliff they found
the housekeeper expecting them, and quite
ready to accept of Nancy in place of the
girl who was about to leave. The house-
keeper asked but few questions ; and Mary
soon saw that she had already got nearly all
the information regarding her daughter and
herself, too, that she wanted; it was plain
also that the friendly shopkeeper had spoken
warmly and well of them, and had thus
paved the way for Nancy's well-doing. There
was no haggling about wages, Mary accepting
at once the offer of six pounds a year. The
housekeeper then led the way into the
nursery, and introduced Nancy to the nurse,
and then to the three children-a noisy
spirited boy of seven and two little girls a
year or two younger-who were to be her
constant charge.







56 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.

The following days were days of busy pre-
paration in Godwin's cottage. When at
length the time for departure came, and
Nancy's little outfit was completed (not with-
out many a little present from her village
friends and neighbours, and a neat pocket
Bible, a parting gift from her teacher at the
Sunday-school), and her box was finally
packed ready for the carrier, who would call
for it early the next morning; then, for the
first time some misgivings rose in Nancy's
mind, and a few big tears rolled down her
face. She brushed them away, however,
bravely, and hastening to. help her mother
with her work, spent the last hours of her
last day at home in busy occupation.
Cray's Cliff stood at about a mile distant
from the church, which was on the other side
of the village. As Mary Godwin walked
thither with Nancy on the following morning,
she gave her some sound advice regarding
the line of conduct she should pursue in
service. Be sure, child," she said, that
you never neglect your own particular duty;
you will soon know what that is, and it must
be your constant care to attend to it, to do
it always, and to do it well. If, without






GOING TO SERVICE. 57

neglecting your own work, you can help
others, do so at once and cheerfully, and
never be asked twice. If you. see anything
wrong in others, do not join in it, but let
them know that you disapprove of it: you
can do this without tale-bearing, which you
must avoid. If any one is angry with you,
don't you be angry too, for then two people
will be at fault instead of one. Be careful
and exact in small things as well as in great,
for domestic comfort, and sometimes the
health and safety of children, depend very
much upon strict attention to these. Try,
too, to be punctual and regular: by good
and orderly habits you will save yourself
much trouble, and be able with ease to get
through much more work. Whatever you
do, be trustzworty, and you will be sure to
get on. Never neglect prayer, or reading
the Scriptures. Remember, as a sinner, you
need a Saviour. Take Jesus as your Re-
deemer, Portion, and Example. There is
another thing I must say a word about: you
will now live much better than you have
been used to do, for you will sit down at
such meals as you have never seen in your
father's cottage; let me beg of you not to






58 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.

think too much of this, or to grow fond
of good things : be moderate in all things,
and let others see that you are so. You
must promise to remember these things,
Nancy; but, above all, you must remember
to pray to God to keep you by the grace of
His Holy Spirit, and to guide your steps
aright." With these words Mary parted with
her child at the door of her new home.
Nancy Godwin did not find at first all the
satisfaction she had expected in her situation
as nurserymaid. She was not what is called
" quick," and therefore she did not make a
great impression at once; but she was care-
ful, ready, and obliging, so that all learned to
like her by degrees. The children whom she
had to watch over and tend soon grew fond
of her, and the baby would be quiet in her
arms when it would be quiet with no one
else. Her fellow-servants, who at first mis-
judged her, came to a different opinion in
time, as each profited in turn by her obliging
ways. At the end of three months, Nancy
was quite comfortable in her new home, and
she was so chiefly because she endeavoured
to make others comfortable around her.














CHAPTER VIII.

HOW THE GODWINS GOT ON.

S-.- "M.nT was not in the habit of driving
i"',; : hils boys to work in the garden when
They were not inclined to. He took
care that there should generally be something
to do in which they might be of service;
but if after their lessons at school, or their
work in the fields, they preferred a game at
play, or a ramble by the brook-side, or a
swim in its clear pools, he liked to let them
have their own way. He knew that it is
easier to draw than it is to drive a lad to
anything; and he knew, too, that if you want
a child to like any kind of employment, you
must create a liking for it by making it a
pleasure and not a task. So, though he
worked himself in his garden every evening
almost as long as it was light and the weather
permitted him, he usually left the boys to






60 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.


join him or not as they thought proper. Had
he been a morose, hard-tempered man, given
to the use of rough, unkind speech, it is
likely that the boys would have used their
liberty and kept away from him; but with
his boys John was almost a boy himself, and
he laid his thoughts so freely and fully open
to them that they never thought of keeping
anything secret from him.. Thus they grew
to like gardening because he liked it, and
they liked it all the better because it was
while they were thus working that they en-
joyed the most of their father's pleasant talk
- and cheerful ways.
In setting his lads the example of regular
labour, Godwin thought only of making them
helpful to the household and to themselves,
and of giving them habits of industry which
would keep them from temptation; but it
often happens that a man who does the right
thing, and teaches his children to do it,
derives advantages from such conduct of a
kind that never entered into his calculations.
It was so in the matter of John's gardening.
That piece of ground behind his cottage had
thriven so well and produced so much that it
was talked of far and near, not only in New-






HOW THE GODWINS GOT ON.


ton, but in Bolton and in the market town,
where some of John's productions had a
ready sale. Other cottagers began to think
of taking a leaf out of Godwin's book, and
now and then they came to see what he was
doing, and to ask his advice and help with
respect to their own bits of ground.
Among others who paid a visit to the cot-
tage at The Firs from time to time was Mr.
Andrews, a Scotchman of about Godwin's
own age, who was the gardener at the Squire's.
He came frequently at odd times, and would
drop in of an evening after he had finished
his own work; and sometimes he would bring
a cutting of a rare plant and put it in the
earth himself, and would give advice as to
what should be done with this patch of
ground, or how to make the most of such or
such a crop. Hints of this kind were trea-
sured up by Godwin, who was sure to act
upon them, for he knew that the Squire's
head gardener was master of his business.
"What are you going to make of that
eldest boy of yours, Godwin?" said Andrews,
one evening. "He has grown a strapping
fellow."
"He'll have to follow my own calling, I






62 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.

reckon," said John. "Poor men like me have
seldom the power of a choice in that matter."
But if a better chance were open to him,
you would not stand in his way, I suppose?"
said the other.
Godwin rested his foot on the spade and
looked up into the gardener's face, feeling
assured that the words were not spoken in
jest or in thoughtlessness.
"To be plain with you," Andrews con-
tinued, "we want another hand at the house,
and my business here to-night was just to ask
you the question whether you would like
your lad to come for a week or two, and see
whether we may suit each other."
"But Sam knows nothing of the business,"
replied John.
But he likes the business above every-
thing," said Andrews. "If you have not
found out that, I have; and I am willing to
pass over the inexperience for the sake of the
liking, if you choose to say the word."
I shall certainly not say No," said God-
win, with a smile.
So the thing was settled with very few
words; and on the following Monday morn-
ing Sam Godwin set off early to the Great






HOW THE GODWINS GOT ON.


House, wondering what sort of a place the
garden could be which wanted five or six
people to look after it, and not without con-
siderable fears as to whether he was fit to be
one of them. He came home in the evening
full of the wonders he had seen and of the
pleasures which the sight had given him.
Mr. Andrews had received him kindly, and
had taken him over the grounds, and then,
warning him to obey orders and be careful
in everything he did, had turned him over to
Mills, one of the under-gardeners, who had
set him to work at once in the kitchen-garden,
which had been rather neglected of late, so
that it had grown weedy. Sam was to get
the kitchen-garden into a neat and tidy state
for his first job. "By the time you have done
that," said Mills, "and I reckon it will take
you a good week, we shall know what you
are made of."
The boy set to work with right good-will,
and feeling glad that he was beginning at
least with something that he understood. By
degrees the weedy beds and overgrown walks
grew clean and neat under his unwearied
hands. Mills looked in upon him in the
afternoon to see what was done, but went






64 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.


away without saying a word, so that Sam
went home the first day not knowing whether
he had given satisfaction or not. But he
laboured on steadily day after day till the job
was finished, and when Saturday afternoon
came received a shilling a day for his work
and a word or two of praise from Mr.
Andrews for doing his work well.
From this time up to three or four years
later nothing very remarkable occurred to the
Godwins. Sam continued in his post as
gardener's assistant, acquiring all the know-
ledge he could, and by the time he was
eighteen had risen to be under-gardener at
a yearly salary, and lived at the lodge along
with Mr. and Mrs. Andrews. Nancy still
lived at Cray's Cliff, where she had won the
respect and good-will of her employers and
the affection of the children under her charge.
There was, however, an alteration in God-
win's household, for since his two eldest
children had left his roof he had taken a
lodger, a young fellow of the name of Bryant,
a joiner, who had been sent down by a house
in London to superintend some rather ex-
tensive alterations which were making in a
wing of the house at Cray's Cliff.













CHAPTER IX.

A FORESHADOWED EVENT.

i r young man Bryant, who lodged
;- "il "I ith Godwin, although he had been
_'_a ent down from London to work at
Newton, was not a Londoner by birth, but a
native of one of the northern counties, and
had served his apprenticeship in the town in
which he was born. Like many other coun-
try workmen, he had gone to the great city
for the double purpose of obtaining better
wages and more experience; there he had
followed his trade for five years, and he must
have been a good workman by that time,
and have had a character for steadiness as
well, or he would not have been trusted to
overlook the work of others away from his
master's eye. He was a well-grown, broad-
shouldered young fellow of six-and-twenty,
with a frank expression of face, a laughing






66 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.


dark eye, and a frame that seemed to bid
defiance to fatigue. He was much liked in
the village for his fair and candid dealing
towards those employed under him, and
whose labours he had to direct; he had won
their respect also by the example of activity
and energy which marked his own conduct.
Godwin, always slow and cautious in judg-
ing another, either for good or ill, was among
the last to form an opinion of his lodger. He
could not help noticing, however, that Bryant
was never idle, and never entered the doors
of a public-house. In fine weather he would
seize a spade or a hoe, and lend him a hand
in the garden; or he would bring hammer
and nails, and repair the fence, the sty, or
the fowl-house; and if it rained he would
take a book from his box, and pore by the
hour together over a page of odd-looking
lines and figures of which John could make
nothing, though he knew they had something
to. do with the trades of carpentering and
building. But when the evenings grew long,
and the fire felt comfortable, and the family
gathered around the cottage hearth by the
light of a single candle, Bryant would shut
up his book, put away his compasses and






A FORESHADOWED EVENT.


scales, and drawing up in front of the blazing
faggot, would beguile his host into a conver-
sation, in which, if possible, he would get the
wife and children to. take a share, mingling
now and then some funny joke of his own,
which would set them all a-laughing till the
room rang again. These evening talks, how-
ever, generally led the way to some interest-
ing story of London life.
On the Sundays, Bryant accompanied the
Godwins to church, save on rare occasions,
when he would walk over to Bolton to see a
friend who had been an old fellow-workman
in London, but who now lay bed-ridden in his
native village. Poor Adams's constitution had
given way under the exacting labours and
bad air of a London workshop, and it was
almost doubtful whether he would ever again
be able to earn his own living. The kindly
visits of his old comrade cheered him and did
him good; and they were certainly not the
less welcome that Bryant rarely went empty-
handed, or without some choice cooling
fruit or nourishing vegetable from Godwin's
garden.
On one Sunday in every month, Nancy,
after attending the service in the morning,
5 *






68 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.

was allowed to stay to dine and spend the
-rest of the day with her parents, always re-
turning at an early hour in the evening. It
was Nancy's mother who first remarked that
though Harry Bryant went frequently to
spend a part of the Sunday with his sick
comrade, he did not go when it was Nancy's
Sunday at home. In the young man's civility
to his daughter Godwin saw nothing remark-
able: he knew that the two must necessarily
be acquainted, from passing so much of
their time under the same roof, the young
carpenter having been busy at Cray's Cliff
for several months. When Mary hinted at
the probability of an attachment between
them, John joked her on the score of her
extraordinary penetration, but assured her
there was no ground for any notion of
the kind. "Mr. Bryant," he said, "will,
I dare say, look higher than a poor man's
daughter when he thinks of settling, and
he is not thinking of that just now, you
may depend upon it." Mary, of course, did
not set up her own judgment against that of
her husband; so she said nothing, though
she remained much of the same opinion.
" You must not think," continued John,






A FORESHADOWED EVENT.


" that because this young man offers Nancy
his arm when he walks home with us from
church, that he has made up his mind to
marry her. That is only his good manners
and politeness, like-and it is Bryant's nature
to be good-mannered, you know; and mind,
Polly, be sure you don't put such a thing
into the girl's head; and perhaps the best
thing you can do is to think no more of it
yourself."
Whether Mary Godwin thought much or
little of it from this time we do not know,
but she did not mention the subject again.
On the other hand, Godwin, though he had
given his opinion so positively, could not
help turning the matter over in his thoughts
again and again, in consequence of what his
wife had said. If he watched Bryant more
narrowly than he had ever done before, and
passed judgment in his own mind upon the
young man's words and actions, it may be
that the hints which his wife had dropped
had some weight with him, notwithstanding
his declared opinion. One thing is certain,
and the reader may attach what importance
he likes to it. On the Saturday that followed
the above conversation with his wife, Godwin







70 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.

was sent with a load of corn in the wagon
over to Bolton, and the first thing he did,
after transacting his master's business there,
was to call and introduce himself to poor
Adams, with a capital dish of sea-kale dug
from his garden. With the sick man he
talked about Bryant, and as he talked, and
listened to the poor fellow's grateful praises
of his comrade, who had been his bench-
mate and close companion for five years,
John was made acquainted more fully with
the kind and generous character of his lodger,
and he felt that whatever might be the young
man's feelings with regard to Nancy, he, as
her father, could have no cause for uneasi-
ness. That night, on reaching home, he told
Bryant of his visit to Adams, and received
his warmest thanks for the kindness shown
to his friend.

It was the middle of November; the cold
winds had stripped nearly the last of the sere
leaves from the trees, and they lay in drifted
heaps along the garden walks. Poor Adams
slept -.: ". .'1I1- in the churchyard, and the
grass was already growing green over his
grave. The alterations at Cray's Cliff were






A FORESHADOWED EVENT.


completed; the men were all dismissed, and
Bryant had only remained behind for a few
days to put the finishing touch to some work
inside, which could be trusted to none of the
village hands.
Mary Godwin sat by the cottage fire late
in the evening, knitting, and talking now and
then to Tom and Betsy, who seemed to be
rather out of spirits.
"Oh, Tom," said Betsy, "aren't you sorry
that Mr. Bryant is going back to London? "
"I just am sorry," said Tom: "it won't
be half such fun when he's gone. Shouldn't
I like to go along with him !"
Nonsense, boy," said Mary; what could
you do in London? "
Tom was about to reply, when his father's
footstep was heard outside, and Godwin
entered.
"What, not gone to bed yet, children?
Come, kiss and away, and mind you are up
betimes in the morning."
When the young ones had gone upstairs,
Godwin turned with an odd look to his
wife. Has Nancy said anything to you?"
he asked.
Has Harry Bryant said anything to






.72 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.

you?" was the response; and then both
were ready to laugh.
"Well," said Godwin, "I was wrong, and
you were right, Polly, that day. It's all
settled. Bryant and I have been talking for
these two hours in our walks, and I trust I
may say that we are satisfied with each other.
He is gone now to bid Nancy good-bye. To-
morrow he starts for London, and-- "
Yes," said Mary, I know,the rest, for I
was at the Cliff this afternoon, and, of course,
Nancy told me their plans. Oh, John, I do
hope and trust they will be happy !"
We can do no more," said John : "they
will have our fervent good wishes and our
prayers, and we must leave the ordering of
their lot to Him who orders all."
The next morning Harry Bryant bade
adieu to the Godwins, and returned to Lon
don, there to do manful work, in preparing a
home for the wife he had chosen.


.:.~E~ ---- 'f.7- ,- ....n~C~








i-




CHAPTER X.

A SUDDEN AFFLICTION.

ws FrTER Bryant's departure, letters came
i'ii' from him occasionally to the cot-
.[ l tage, and when the Godwins did
not hear directly from him, they often heard
of him through their daughter. When Christ-
mas drew near, too, the carrier brought them
a reminder from him in the shape of a pack-
age of seasonable dried fruits and other
things for Christmas cheer, together with a
few books which had the names of Tom and
Betsy written on the blank leaves. These
were read through again and again, and
helped, with the conversations they gave rise
to, to enliven the little group assembled
round the winter's fire.
By-and-by the snow melted away, the brook
which the frost had silenced began babbling
once more, the small birds commenced twit-







74 THE COTTAGE -AT THE FIRS.

tering in the hedges, the meadows put on a
bright green mantle, and everything declared
as plainly as it could speak that spring was
come. Of course Godwin's garden was not
behindhand in bearing witness to the plea-
sant fact. One morning he rose earlier than
usual, and roused Tom.from his bed to assist
in lopping a tall lime-tree which during the
last summer had cast rather too much of its
broad shadows upon the land, and kept back
the ripening of his crops. Godwin took the
bill-hook and got up into the tree, and com-
menced severing the branches close to the
trunk, thinning them as he went upwards.
Partly owing to the little daylight there was,
and partly owing to his hurry-for he had to
be off to the farm at six o'clock-he incau-
tiously placed his foot on a broken bough,
and fell, striking the garden fence in his fall,
to the ground.
Stunned for a moment, he was unable,
when Tom ran to his assistance, to move
hand or foot. Poor Tom in his fright raised
a wild cry, and this brought his mother, who
was just dressed, to the window. Seeingwhat
had happened, she ran down, and in another
minute was at the side of her husband. So







A SUDDEN AFFIICTION.


soon as he could speak Godwin bade Mary
not to be alarmed, but to help him to his
feet; but upon trial this was found no easy
matter, as the attempt to move put him to
greater pain than he could bear. Tom ran
with all speed to bring the doctor, whose
house stood not far off; and he, with his
man-servant, was soon on the spot. To-
gether they lifted the patient gently, carried
him into the house, and then upstairs to
bed. On examination the case was found
to be bad enough, though it might have
been worse : John's right leg was broken,
and he had received a severe blow on the
back of his head, and had besides an ugly
wound on the shoulder.
This was a sad blow to the humble house-
hold, and especially so-to Mary, who in her
secret- heart murmured against what she
deemed an undeserved calamity. Her con-
duct, however, under the affliction was most
praiseworthy: she neither cried, nor moaned,
nor wrung her hands, but, suppressing her own
feelings for the time, did all in her power to
soothe her husband's sufferings, and was con-
stantly on the watch to promote his comfort
and anticipate his slightest wish. Before the






76 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.

doctor left she had begged him to tell her
the extent of the injury, and was about to
question him further, but he cut her short
by giving her the directions she was to
follow.
When the news of the accident got abroad
in the village, half the gossips in the place
ran as usual to The Firs to gratify their curio-
sity. They would have gathered round the
sick man's bed, and made his pains worse
by their talk; but the doctor had told Mary
that she should keep her husband quiet, and
admit no one into his room. About noon
again he drove up to the door in his gig, and
after looking at his patient and asking a few
questions, he went away, bidding Mary keep
up her spirits, as he had little doubt but that
her husband would do well. When he came
the next day he spoke still more cheeringly.
" Godwin is doing famously," he said: I
never saw so bad a wound that was followed
by. so little inflammation in a man of his
age. It is all owing to the healthy condition
of his blood, and that is owing to his tem-
perate habits of life. I'll tell you what, my
good woman: if your husband had been a
hard drinker this accident must have been






A SUDDEN AFFLICTION.


his death. As it is, you have only to follow
my advice, and be assured we shall soon
have him well between us."
Mary Godwin nursed her husband through
the whole of his illness without other aid
than the occasional help of a willing neigh-
bour. The domestic duties during this trying
time fell chiefly on Betsy, who kept the cot-
tage neat and tidy, while Tom worked early
and late in getting the garden crops into the
ground.
Godwin's wound healed rapidly, and after
the first few days he felt no ill effects from
the bruise; but the broken limb was a more
serious business, and confined him to his
room for a weary season. He did not com-
plain, but spent much of his time in reading
his large-print Bible, and in thinking silently
over what he read. He said once or twice
that the confinement and the idleness of his
hands were far worse to bear than any pain
he had suffered; but when Mary in her sym-
pathy seemed to repine at this, he checked
her suddenly and warmly. My dear wife,"
he said, "we must have no complaining: the
accident from which I suffer was caused by
my own hurry and carelessness. Let us be






78 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.

thankful that it was no worse, and that though
it has been so painful, it has yet been the
occasion of so many things that are pleasant
and agreeable. See how kind and thought-
ful everybody is towards us in our trouble,
and how loving and generous our children
are."
What Godwin so gratefully remembered
was indeed quite true. His doctor's attend-
ance would cost him nothing, for now he
felt the full advantage of the club to which
he had belonged for many years; his wages,
too, were almost made up to him by the
club allowance. Every man, he would have
said, should follow his example, and be pre-
pared for accidents or illness. Yet at this
time of sickness everybody was ready to do
him kindness. Bryant, of course, received
an account of the misfortune which had
befallen the Godwins, and he immediately
wrote to John, condoling with him in his
trouble, and kindly proposing to bear any
expenses which might arise from it. Of
course John did not accept this offer, gra-
tifying as it was to him to receive it; and
when he wrote to decline it, Bryant deter-
mined to run down to Newton, in order, as






A SUDDEN AFFLICTION.


he said, to see that his good friend wanted
for nothing. The reader may imagine, if he
likes, that this was not all Bryant wanted to
see. At any rate, he came down late on the
Saturday night before Nancy's Sunday at
home, and there was a pleasant meeting of
something more than friends in the old
cottage.
Towards the end of May, Godwin could
get about the garden with the help of a stick,
and glad enough he was to take the rake or
the pruning-knife in hand once more. By
the second week in June the broken limb
had become firm and useful as ever, and
with a grateful heart our honest friend re-
sumed his life of daily labour.
Painful as the affliction was, it was "a
blessing in disguise." Godwin could say,
"It was good for me to be afflicted." He
was led to much self-examination, and it is
hoped that he was brought to feel more of
his need of Christ as his Saviour. Often in
after days he was heard to say, "Before I
was afflicted I went astray, but now have
I kept Thy word."








S- -*'- ,. ,





CHAPTER XI.

A WORKING MAN AND HIS WIFE.

'J ... years passed quietly away, and
SNancy Godwin became the wife of
I larry Bryant. The London home
to which he had brought her was in the out-
skirts of the great city. It consisted of two
rooms on the first-floor of a small house in
a long street. There was no garden, but a
small court-yard in the rear, in which stood
a small washhouse, a dust-bin, and a water-
butt. Besides the Bryants there were two
other couples living in the house, both of
whom had young children; and the land-
lady who kept it lived on the basement floor,
in the general kitchen, of which all the
lodgers had the use. Bryant had furnished
his rooms well and substantially, and indeed
had spared no necessary expense ; so that
Nancy was delighted when she found her-






A WORKING MAN AND HIS WIFE. 81

self so rich in household goods. Those first
summer months were a sort of fairy season
to the youthful pair.
But before long there -came a change.
With the fall of the year came wet weather
for days together. The new home, which at
first had looked so bright, began to lose
some of its charms. November brought its
fogs, which seemed to settle in that low
region as though they would never depart.
Nancy took cold, and had to nurse herself,
and Bryant was full of fears on her account.
He had eaten his dinner in the workshop
one day, and was sitting by the stove in a
rather thoughtful mood, when his eye fell
upon a printed paper which one of the men
had left on his bench. Bryant took it up
list lessly,and began to read. It was a de-
scription of some new houses, called Model
Lodging-houses, which had lately been
opened in the neighbourhood for the ac-
commodation of working men and their
families. He had not time to read the
whole then, but he borrowed the paper of
his comrade, and put it in his pocket. At
night he took it home, and he and Nancy
read it together. There they found that, for
6






82 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.


a less sum than they were then paying, they
could have two good rooms in a large, healthy
house, with a constant supply of water, cold
or hot, the use. of a bath, a washhouse, a
large drying-room, a kitchen fire for cooking,
with many other conveniences of which they
were now deprived, and that, in addition to
all, there was a room set apart for reading,
and supplied with books and newspapers.
Nancy," said Bryant, "do you put on
your cloak to-morrow morning, as soon as
you have had your breakfast, and go and see
what this is like; you will be able to judge
better than I can. If it suits your taste it
will be sure to suit mine, and we will move
our sticks there at once. It is not ten
minutes' walk from our shop, so that I can
pop in and out for dinner, and even for tea,
if I like."
Nancy was too well pleased at the thought
of escaping from her present lodging to lose
time in doing as she was requested. By ten
o'clock next morning she was in the new
lodging-house, and being shown over it by
the director. She found everything exactly
as it was described in the paper she had
read. Before leaving, the porter put into






A WORKING MAN AND HIS WIFE. 83

her hand a paper of the regulations to be
observed by all the inmates. On reaching
home she felt so pleased with what she had
seen that she could not help mentioning it
to Mrs. Pain, the mother of some noisy chil-
dren in the top floor.
"Oh," said Mrs. Pain, I know all about
them Model Lodging-houses; one may as
well go into a prison at once as go there."
"V ~l, so?" said Nancy, rather alarmed.
"Why, you see, it's just as strict as a
prison. You just look at the regulations,
and you'll see."
"I have looked at them," said Nancy,
"and really I see nothing to complain of;"
and she took. them from her pocket.
"Don't you? then I do. Why, you've
got to sweep other people's dirt as well as
your own. Look-there !" and she pointed
to the rule.
"But that is only in your turn," said
Nancy; "and surely it is better that one
person should do the whole in her turn, than
that twenty should be sweeping at once."
"Oh, but you can't stay out after eleven
o'clock without a ticket; and my husband
wouldn't stand that, I know, if yours would.






84 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.

Then you must pay your rent aforehand
every Monday morning; and if you don't
be sharp with it, out you go. And there's
other things besides as isn't to my taste, I
can tell you."
This conversation was rather a damper to
Nancy; but when Bryant came home she
gave him a faithful account of all, not for-
getting Mrs. Pain's objections. It was re-
solved to give the Model Lodging-house a
trial, in spite of Mrs. Pain. On the following
day Bryant called at the place himself, and
hired two nice rooms, and before the week
had expired they had moved into them.
There was an end at once to the water
difficulty; there was quiet in the rooms, for
the walls were too thick for common sounds
to pass through; there were the means of
cleanliness always at hand, in baths for the
person, and washing and drying rooms for
linen; and at all times of the day there was
the kitchen fire for cooking. As for the
regulations which frightened Mrs. Pain, a
little experience showed that they were -the
best that could have been devised for the
comfort of the inmates, who were insured by
them the enjoyment of peace, cleanliness,






A WORKING MAN AND HIS WIFE. 85

and order. Both Bryant and his wife had
their health in their new home, where, 'in
course of time, they formed many agreeable
acquaintances among an honest and frugal
class, whose intimacy was of use to them in
after-life.
We shall conclude this chapter with parts
of a rather long letter which Nancy wrote to
her parents in the spring of the year, after
moving into their new lodging.
"Among our new friends is a Christian
widow, who lives in the next apartments to
ours, on the same floor. She is always ready
to do me a good turn, and to give me good
advice. She is a cheerful neighbour. Some-
times I hear her singing such beautiful
hymns, and she has taught me to sing
them too.
I was a wandering sheep,
I did not love the fold;
I did not love my Shepherd's voice;
I would not be controlled;
or,
"'Just as I am, without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that thou bidd'st me come to Thee,
0 Lamb of God, I come.'
Ah t' she says, 'give to Jesus your early
days ; make Him now your choice, and






86 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.


when, like me, you are old, you will not
want for a Friend. He is faithful He is
faithful! Blessed be His holy name, He is
faithful !'
"There is an old acquaintance of ours of
whom I have now something to tell. I was
sitting at my window yesterday morning,
thinking, over my..-.-..l!.- ... i:, of the dear old
cottage at Newton, when I heard the voice of
some one in the street crying, 'Chickweed
and groundsel for birds !' I knew the voice
directly, but could not remember at once
who it was. Oh, mother, when I looked
out to see, there was old James Crocker
slouching along the road in the dirtiest rags
you ever saw, and with an old hamper slung
at his neck full of little bits of turf such as
they put in larks' cages, and green stuff
pulled from the hedgerows. I ran down
and called him by name; but he did not
know me a bit at first. Poor man, he has
been so unfortunate. That Mr. Bartlett put
him in prison about the shop-keeping
business at Newton. Then, after he was
let out, his wife died of a bad fever. His
boys turned out bad, and more than a year
ago they went off to the gold-diggings, and






A WORKING MAN AND HIS WIFE. 87

have not been heard of since. So no more
at present from, dear father and mother,
"Your affectionate daughter,
NANCY BRYANT."







p ,- .--, "* *.- ?






CHAPTER XII.

CONCLUSION.

r*-i..r sad history of his old fellow-
h.' r ibourer, which was contained in
i incy's letter, made considerable
impression on John Godwin's mind. He
did not talk much about it, but the thought
of poor Jem Crocker, who in past years had
worked so merrily by his side, and who had
often shown him kindness while he was yet
a stranger in Newton, was continually pre-
sent with him. It haunted him as he lay
awake at night, and followed him in his
work about the farm, every object in which
brought his old comrade to his recollection.
Resolving to do what he could to help the
unfortunate man, he watched for an oppor-
tunity; and one day, when Mr. Fowler came
into the stackyard where John was at work,
he laid the matter before him, and pulling






CONCLUSION. 89

his daughter's letter from his pocket, read
that part of it which related to poor Crocker.
"Poor fellow," said Mr. Fowler, "that
legacy of his was the worst thing that could
happen to a man of his sort, who never had
the strength to resist temptation. But we
must see what can be done for him; he
served me well for many a year, and I'm
sorry indeed to hear what you tell me. Do
you think he would care to come back to
Newton and work here again, if the chance
was offered him?"
"Well," said John, "now that there is no-
body but himself to please, perhaps he would.
At any, rate, I'll soon be certain about that;
and I'm much obliged to you, sir, for what
you've said."
This talk with his employer encouraged
John in an idea which had long been running
in his head, and that was nothing less than
paying a visit to London, which he had never
seen in his life, and spending a few days with
his daughter. In that case he would find out
Jem Crocker, and he had little doubt but
that he should be able to prevail on him to
return. A trip from the village of Newton
to London was not now nearly so great an






90 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.

undertaking as it would have been only a
twelvemonth earlier, for the branch railway
which had been laid down from the market-
town to Bolton ran within half a mile of
Newton Church, and there was a neat little
station at the nearest point, from which
London could be reached even by the par-
liamentary trains in six or seven hours.
When John discussed the proposed ex-
cursion with his wife, Mary, you may be
sure, wanted to go too, and to this he had
not the slightest objection. The end of it
all was, that one fine sunny morning, John
Godwin and his wife took their seats, not
without some misgivings at the first sight of
the snorting iron horse, in one of the big
carriages, and before one o'clock in the after-
noon were landed on the huge platform in
Paddington. The honest couple were amazed
at the tumult, the noise, and the apparent
confusion of a place in which everything they
saw was new to them, and stood looking
about them in a bewildered sort of way,
when John felt a smart slap on the shoulder,
and on turning round, thele stood Harry
Bryant laughing at their astonishment, and
holding out his hand in welcome. In a few






CONCLUSION.


minutes he had got their luggage out of the
van and on the roof of an omnibus, and all
three were jogging on merrily towards their
city home, the country visitors being lost in
wonder at the wilderness of tall houses they
travelled through, and the ever-moving multi-
tudes of people that thronged the streets.
We need not describe the meeting between
Nancy and her parents, but shall leave the
reader to imagine that and all the kind things
that were said on either side. The following
few days were spent in seeing the sights of
London under Bryant's guidance, who got a
holiday for the purpose. They saw enough
to talk about for the rest of their lives, and
more than enough to make them contented
with their peaceful cottage at home. John,
for his part, though admiring the wonders he
saw, and admitting that the Lodging-house
was "a fine smart place for having things
handy about one," declared that he couldn't
live in any place without a bit of land to
work on, and that London would be the last
place where he should find a bit to his liking.
On the second evening after their arrival
in town, Bryant went in search of poor
Crocker, and brought him in to supper.






92 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.

John saw that his old companion was much
shattered in health, and had plainly suffered
a great deal. At first he was very silent and
downcast, but John's cheerful face and Mary's
smile of welcome soon made him feel at home
and among friends, and put him more at ease.
In the course of the evening John took him
aside, and in a kindly way let him know the
feeling of Mr. Fowler towards him, advising
him to take advantage of it and return to his
old place. Perhaps had any one else given
him this advice, Crocker would have refused
it, for, like most imprudent people, he felt
ashamed to return as a poor man to a place
where he had once been considered as better
off than his neighbours; but Godwin spoke
in such a brotherly way, and seemed to look
forward so heartily to recovering an old com-
rade, that the feeling of shame vanished from
his mind, and he at once told John that he
would follow his advice. The consequence
was, that when the Godwins, having had their
fill of London, went back to Newton, Crocker
went along with them. For several weeks he
was John's guest at the cottage, where, such
was the effect of good, wholesome food, and
a return to his native air, that he soon re-






CONCLUSION.


covered his strength, and resumed his work
at the old farm.
We have now said as much concerning
John Godwin and his family as we intended
to record, and we hope -we have shown
that there are solid pleasures to be en-
joyed under a cottage roof, and solid com-
forts by the man who cultivates a grateful
trust in God, and, while labouring for his
daily bread, trains up his family, in the fear
of the Lord, to the same humble trust and
active industry.
Godwin still dwells contented in his cot-
tage. Before we bid him f.r-.. .!L altogether,
let us look in upon him once more to see
how he fares. It is a Sunday afternoon in
the summer. The day is hot and sultry,
though a pleasant light breeze is waving the
tops of the tallest trees and whispering among
the leaves of that old lime from which John
had so terrible a tumble fifteen years ago.
The windows of the cottage are all thrown
wide open to admit the cool air and the fra-
grance of the blooming roses which have
climbed up the western gable and overtopped
even the stumpy chimney. In a neat rustic
arbour made of knobby sticks and gnarled






94 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.


roots sits our friend John, reading aloud
out of the large-print Bible : Even to your
old age I am He, and even to hoar hairs
I will carry you." "He will never leave
thee, nor forsake thee." "Nothing shall
separate us from the love of Christ." "Hav-
ing loved His own, He loved them unto the
end." And many other precious truths you
may hear him repeat from the blessed book.
The once bushy brown locks that covered
his head have dwindled down to a rather
thin crop, whose hue is a silver grey. But
the voice of the man is sturdy and deep-
chested; his limbs are strong and hearty,
and there is still the glow of health in every
fibre of his frame. We cannot say so much
of the neighbour who sits opposite to him
listening to the words of the Holy Book;
that is James Crocker, on whom Time has
laid his hand more heavily, and who now in
his old age is paying the penalty of youthful
follies. But Crocker, like his friend, has
learned where to look for consolation under
all trials, and his heart is now full of praise,
and not of complaint, for the troubles which
were made the means of his lasting good.
He cherishes a humble hope that the Holy






CONCLUSION.


Spirit has opened the eyes of his under-
standing, to see his state as a sinner, and
to know the meaning of that text, We have
redemption through His (Christ's) blood, the
forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of
His grace." God hath spoken to him, Come
now, and let us reason together: though
your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as
white as snow; though they be red like
crimson, they shall be as wool." These
words have come to him with a soothing,
quickening power, and they have brought
hope and peace to his soul.
And, lo, from the open door of the cot-
tage comes Mary Godwin, in close cap and
neat print gown, looking at this distance
almost as young as ever. She is dancing a
baby in her arms, and the little fellow is
laughing and crowing, and grasping at her
sun-lighted face with his tiny fat fingers, and
rolling his large blue eyes about as if he
would see all the world at a glance. That is
Nancy's youngest boy, and see, there comes
Nancy herself, who is grown quite plump
and matronly; she is leading by the hand a
shy little girl of six; who is not so shy, how-
ever, but that on seeing Grandad in the






o6 THE COTTAGE AT THE FIRS.

arbour, she quits her mother's side and runs
to Godwin, who has to lift her on to his
knee and sign to her to be quiet until he
has finished the chapter. See how still she
sits, with one finger on her lips.
If you look in at the open window you
may see Betsy Godwin, now a tall young
woman and still unmarried, who is busy set-
ting out the tea-things; and if you wait for
another half-hour you would see Tom God-
win coming in with his brother Sam, and
Sam's wife. They are coming to bid good-
bye to Nancy, who has been down for a
short visit, but returns to her husband in the
morning.


UNW1N I BOTIIFRS, PRINTERiS, CHILWORTI1 AND LONDON.




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